BowWow Book Review: Lipstick and the Leash



I FINISHED A BOOK!! A few years ago, this wouldn’t have been such an exclamation since I am a huge book worm, but with work, dogs, the boy friend, bills, etc. I find that finding the time to sit down and read a book can be difficult. I have really been missing it lately, however, and have been forcing myself to make time for it.

I recently set a goal to read one industry-related book per month (click here to see my original post). I say “industry-related” as books I may choose to read could deviate slightly from topics solely regarding dog training. I already have a couple books in my Amazon Wishlist that have to do with horse training.

Lipstick and the Leash: Dog Training a Woman’s Way by Camilla Gray-Nelson was a book I’ve been meaning to read for some time. I saw Camilla at the IACP (International Association of Canine Professionals) 2013 Conference this past September and really enjoyed her presentation. I even adopted a couple of the techniques she demonstrated.


  • Published in 2012 by Double Dove Press
  • 200 pages
  • Includes text, as well as black & white photographs
  • Some basic how-to instruction at the end
  • Includes an appendix of suggested training tools

Level of difficulty: Basic, easy enough to follow for those with no dog/dog training experience. Also, the text is quite large – it kind of comes off more like a young-adult read text- & photo-wise.Lipstick & the leash_inside

Content: I find Camilla’s theories regarding leadership and the most effective ways to train you dog coherent and would make sense to anyone who owns a dog. The book is specifically geared towards women, and while there are some mention of emotionality and techniques that would make sense for (most) women, I do not find that anything explained therein would be more helpful to women who are training. Additionally, this book is geared towards pet-owners, not necessarily other dog trainers so some that are professionals in the field might find this book more useful as a recommended reading for the owners.

There is a section that objectively explains specific uses for different types of training collars/tools. I emphasize the word “objectively” because Camilla does not demonize any tool that she explains, and she explains all of them. Even though you can tell fairly quickly which types of collars she prefers to use, she goes over those others that you can tell she does not use frequently, but without condemning those tools or the people that may choose to use them. This is refreshing for me, as I find a lot of trainers spend too much of their time condemning certain tools (or trainers that use these tools) and less time explaining the techniques they use.

training-can-single__85315.1329269628.1280.1280One aspect of this book that I did not really like was the frequent self-promoting that goes on. It isn’t overly apparent and I of course understand that one point of publishing a book is to make a profit and bring more attention to your business, but a lot of the techniques Camilla demonstrates would require the use of one of her “essential training tools”. One big one that she cannot seem to function without is her “Training Cans”, which are basically your standard metal can with pennies inside. These retail for $6.95 on her online store. The theory behind her extensive use of the Training Cans is that they simulate a corrective “bark” that one dog would give to another to warm him/her to stop what they are doing. Now, I use shake cans on occasion with my training, but I tend to gravitate more towards the ones made with an empty plastic water bottle. The sound is less harsh vs. one made with metal-on-metal. Certain dogs can become extremely fearful of the noise, which can be counter productive.

Additionally, she suggests the use of a “Fight-Not Fan” {retails for Fight-Not-walking__37953.1304448202.1280.1280
$12} for dogs with leash aggression/reaction
issues. This is
basically a piece of cardboard attached to a stick that you are meant to use to block your dog’s view of other dogs. However, I did not like this concept for 2
reasons: 1) carrying around a large “fan” during your walks seems annoying, especially if you are trying to simultaneously walk your large, socially-challenged dog, and 2) this method would just solve the reaction, not the underlying need the dog feels to react in the first place. I would find something like a Calming Cap to be more convenient in these cases.

The instructional section towards the end is basic, but easy to follow. She does not really introduce any spectacularly novel ideas for teaching your basic dog obedience commands, but she does use leash guidance & corrections in many of them.

Bottom Line: 3 out of 5 stars. This would be a great book for dog owners, though doesn’t really offer anything new or outstanding for those of us who work in the field. There are quite a few basic editing mistakes (spelling, grammar), though not so much that I found it too distracting. The text is large, which to me felt like they were trying to fill space and make the book seem more extensive than it was. Also, the self promotion of what the author considers to be “essential” training tools (that you can of course purchase through her website) was a bit obnoxious, as well as some of them really not being essential. I do like her explanations of the importance of leadership and calm control, and her unbiased description of training collars. If you are looking for a book to help with training your ill-mannered (but not seriously challenged) dog, then this would be a great read for you. If you dog has a more serious behavior problem or you are looking for a book to expand on your base of training knowledge, then you will want to keep looking.

I hope you liked my first book review, let me know what you think in the comments below!

 Love, Natalia


May Reading List ~ BowWow Edition

Embed from Getty Images

I just fished a bug out of my tea…then continued to drink it. Is that gross? Probably, but I didn’t want to go all the way back to the kitchen to make a fresh cup. Yay for laziness!

I have a plethora of dog and dog training related books that I purchased when I first started training, but have only read 1 or 2 of them. Lately – well, the last couple days – I have been feeling pretty down about my dog training experience. I mentioned in my Jane Haul that I had finally found a new person to help me out in the training department, but, sadly, things did not work out. I am more bummed than I usually am (this is the 4th time I’ve lost my partner!) because, unlike the others, this guy had a TON of experience. Not only that, as there are lots of people with experience, but he had experience using the types of tools and techniques that I use, which is rare. I was learning the most interesting, effective and useful methods from him and he was getting my dogs to places on day one that would’ve taken me 5x as long. I got my hopes up, then got pooped on.

So, in an effort to not only make myself feel better, but to expand my dog-knowledge (as I should be anyways), I have delved into my book shelves and started some new reading material. My hope is to get through at least one work-related book per month, though I have currently started reading 3:


I am 95% finish with Lipstick and the Leash (appropriate for this blog, right???) and just started Koehler’s book, which I actually bought by accident as “utility” training apparently has to do with obedience trials. Control Unleashed I had to start over – I’ve been “reading” this one for about 6 months now.

Do you have any good training related books that you recommend? Let me know in the comments!

BowWow Trainee: Bruno


Meet Bruno!! He is a 2 year old yellow lab that I have been training for the past week and a half and have basically made my new “accessory”.

He came to me after being a Guide Dog “reject”; his new owners adopted him in the hopes that he could be a stability therapy dog for the husband. Bruno had been trained through Guide Dogs on his basic obedience before leaving the program, but had been unable to pass his NSAR service dog registration in order to be accepted to stability school.

And that is where I came in!


So far, he has been a model student, and since he already knew his commands, we have been focusing on the requirements for his service test. These basically entail being controllable, on-leash, in a public setting. This has allowed me to take him on field trips and really test him out in different situations.

I have taken him to the feed store, a couple jogging sessions, our down town theater district, and to an event where we have a booth. The event has been the biggest test as there are lots of new people of all shapes and sizes. Tomorrow I plan on taking him to the farmer’s market.

Bruno goes home on Sunday, which I am a little sad about 😦 However, his owners generally drop him off for daycare once or twice a week, so I won’t have to miss him for long!

Wish him luck on passing his service dog tests!!!

Hiking with the BowWows

We’ve been on a hiking-streak this weekend. First, we went to Helen Putnam Park and did a relatively quick jaunt up to the top of the hill. We like this hike because it isn’t a long trek to reach the entrance – it is actually within walking distance from my parent’s house. We usually go off on one of the side trails to make the hike more interesting and to add a little difficulty, but you really have to watch out for ticks. This time we decided to take a different trail than usual and it ended up being shorter, but the view at the top was amazing!

The next day, we hit Bodega Bay, to one of the boy’s favorite hike spots. We have to access this hike through private property, so I am not super stoked to go there often – I am more into following rules and worried that I will anger the homeowners. The boy has been multiple times and has never run into an issue, so I suggested that we go now that the weather is getting nicer. This hike is a bit treacherous as the path hedges along a seaside cliff and is mostly used by cattle. Also, there are lots of cow pies and muddy spots to avoid. The first time I went on this hike, I had just recently adopted Zephyr and didn’t know too much about his personality. I made the mistake of letting him off leash and he immediately took off after a little herd of sheep. It is a good thing there wasn’t a shepherd around, as Zephyr can look pretty wild. However, the end view is totally worth any apprehensions that I have – it takes you to a private beach that doesn’t look to have been touched by anything but cattle and other animals. It is the ultimate romantic picnic spot!

The BowWows are now happily passed out on the bed with the boy – it has been a weekend well spent!

“Actually, it is NOT ok.” ~ BowWow Pet Peeve


The boy & Vixen

As a dog trainer, one of the number one challenges that pet-owners come to me with is – jumping. Jumping is annoying, occasionally painful, and possibly dangerous. Often, jumping has inadvertently been encouraged by the owner(s) and once the habit is formed, can be more difficult to break.

Both Vixen & Zephyr were major jumpers. When I first met the boy, his ~80lbs. “baby” would great by not only jumping on you, but also digging in with her nails and then dragging them down your body. Ouch! I have a scar running down my leg from hip to knee from one such instance. Zephyr is more of a jump & hold guy, but unlike Vixen, who would stop after a couple jumps, Zephyr would continue until I separated him by a wall. Both have been mostly broken of this habit, thankfully!

Now, an “off” command is something I teach ALL of my doggie-clients, whether or not it was specified by the owner. I do this because there will inevitably be a situation where you do not want your dog either on you (or another person) or a piece of furniture (or other item). Some people try tell me that they never mind when their 75lb. lab gives them “hugs” or sits on the furniture. Well, that is all fine and good for you, but what happens when your 6 year old niece or 80 year old father comes to visit? Or you are on a ladder trying to fix a bulb and Fido thinks it’s a good time for that “hug”? Even if you do not use the command often, all dogs should understand an “off” command.

One thing that drives me crazy is when I am working a dog, and someone comes up to pet said dog. Firstly, I work at a complete pet Imagecare facility, meaning we offer not only the dog training, but also have doggie daycare, boarding, and grooming. So, if you are coming to our facility, see me in my logo’d polo with all my training gear and a dog, you can safely assume that we are working. Most of the time people will ask before approaching any dog I have with me or just smile and make a comment about how “cute” the dog is. However, it is those people that walk up (generally while I am having the dog stay and audibly saying “stay”), don’t ask if it is ok and start squealing and fawning over my trainee. The dog inevitably jumps and is then encouraged to continue the behavior by all the affection being given to them by this interrupter. The first words out of my mouth are always, “Fido, off. Sorry, ma’am/sir, we are working on his jumping.” Their reply? “Oh, that’s ok, I don’t mind!”


You have just undermined my leadership and made the dog break command, so while YOU may not mind, I DO. Consistency is extremely important during training and clients pay a lot of money to have their dog taught to be a well-mannered canine citizen, so no, it is NOT ok. If you would like to greet a strange dog, ASK first, then follow whatever the owner/handler tells you in regards to the introduction. Not only will you be helping the owner keep their dog’s commands & manners maintained, you help the dog generalize good behaviors outside the home. I know people are mostly well-meaning, but good intentions cannot train your dog!

Has something like this every happened to you and your dog? Let me know in the comments!

Welcome to Beauty ‘n’ BowWows!


If you have happened to stumble upon this blog, let me begin by telling you a little bit about who I am, what I do, and what I hope (!) to do with this blog.

Firstly, hello! My name is Natalia (NOT NataliE), and for those of you who do not know me personally, let me break myself down into a nutshell: I am notoriously quiet, but you can generally tell my mood through my facial expressions. I am a home-body, a hard worker, and have an insane sweet tooth. I train dogs (& their people), though one of my greatest passions is beauty & makeup. And this, my friends, is what this blog is all about: doggies & all the crap I put on my face!

Kind of a weird combo? Probably. But I figured, hey! I love both of these things, and there are bound to be others who might find my insights and exploits interesting, so why not meet some new people and share my experiences and opinions?

I plan on keeping things fairly casual, light & fun and always 100% honest. I hope to review some beauty & pet related products, as well as share my daily adventures with the furry creatures in my care.

Sound interesting to you? Great! Then go ahead and follow me as I take this journey. Sound lame? Then continue browsing, I promise you wont hurt my feelings. Have suggestions? Then leave a comment!

Wish me luck!